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Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

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Old 10-12-2014, 06:56 PM   #21
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

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Old 10-12-2014, 08:00 PM   #22
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Originally Posted by Bill View Post
I have a friend who lives in Brandermille, VA. She had no problems with her house until she had vinyle siding installed. Now her front door sticks during the summer and her hard wood floor which I installed is buckling. She seems to think it may be the sheets of insulation that was installed under the siding. I also am leaning towards that conclusion because there was no problems prior.

Does anyone here think that the insulation may not be allowing the house to breath and trapping moisture in the house? If so I was going to remove it and replace with Tyvek.

I noticed too that there are a lot of trees around, but they can not be cut as the home owner association will not permit it. There is massive amount of mildew on the side of the house too.

Crawlspace or basement?
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:34 AM   #23
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

The trick to dry houses is to keep the Dew points at each cavity above the condensation point(Pun intended) just throwing another layer of insulation and additional VBarrier has created a location where vapour is collecting on the house side of the New Vapour barrier.(under the rain screen)

a few moisture probings would confirm this.
as the floor is swelling, I'd check to see if the water is coming from the basement/crawl space or dribbling down an exterior wall(s). to the sub floor.

A Sealed house up. then B, doors won't shut, floor heaves. C What caused B?
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:20 PM   #24
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

yea there ya go..keep trying till something sticks..
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:32 PM   #25
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Maybe she got house plants.

Here's a good story:
When I was a kid, my parents has a custom door opening made- it was very nice. However a few years later, the door started sticking in the summer. Dad calls a handy man in.

Handy man takes a planer, and removes some material. Problem solved.

Door shrinks in winter. Now air leaking in. THey add a strip of insulation.

Next summer, repeat, but now they just keep removing layers.

Fast forward a few years. I finally take a good look at the door. In the winter, it is now short a quarter inch on the area they shaved. In the summer its expanded.

the 6 panel door had started separating at the top. The summer would make the door stick, the winter would make the wood contract.

Had they properly identified the problem in the beginning, a single nail in the right place would have probably fixed the issue. At worst, a proper screw in the right place, and a drop of glue.

Moral of the story:

The siding may be contributing to the problem, but the problem probably isn't the siding.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:48 PM   #26
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

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Old 10-17-2014, 12:05 AM   #27
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Im no genius and live in an arid climate.

Back in the day we would wrap houses in 1.5 inches of eps and do EIFS and people would have to add dehumidifiers to the AC or have the issues. Even in a dry climate inside moisture content can be too high with central hvac.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:57 AM   #28
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

There should have either been a roll on water moisture vapor barrier such as TIQUEguard with a drain plane or tyvek or a rainscreen installed. Trapped water and vapor and moisture between the EPS foam board and the substrate are not a good thing!
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:15 PM   #29
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

was this a re-side??? Did they strip the old siding??

Around here most of the hacks nail up the foam right over the original siding, usual asbestos shingle, which cracks the hell out of it, then they swap out the windows and just J around them and wonder why it leaks.

Every reside job I work on, there is always rot around the windows and doors. If the floor is buckling in one area, and its just the front door that has an issue, it sounds like its more of a leak than vapor issues.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:04 PM   #30
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Is she Italian ? that could be the Problem .to much pasta cooking.

Or the real problem is that We as a trade are installing products and systems on older homes and only doing HALF of what is really required.

Tightening a home Maybe a good thing, But NOT if other system are not included in the upgrade.

I just finished and exterior house remodel, in Massachusetts.

striped all siding, and trim to sheathing.

New 3/8" foam board taped
new hardi plank & composite trim


All bath fan duct pipe switched to insulated
kitchen vent checked and sealed
all exterior wall penetrations sealed
proper vents installed
new insulation at proper vents
gable vent blocked off.

Done as right as I could..
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:58 PM   #31
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Just did a job like this, new high efficiency windows foamed in, 4" of fiberglass in walls and 1" of dow styrofoam taped on outside of sheathing. We had -4 degree farenheit temps and the warm air was running up the back of the blue board and blowing out the top and freezing instantly. I went up and put my hand over the top of it and you could feel the air blowing through. Now I see this as a good thing that that moisture is escaping somewhere. I snapped some photos because I thought it was interesting. Verdict is still out if there was condensation between the foam and sheathing running down, thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:50 PM   #32
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets

Retrofitting outboard rigid insulation in a cold climate can be pretty risky.
you have two competing problems
1. You want the foam to be thick enough so that it doesn't cause the sheathing to get cold enough to reach the due point.
2. At sufficient R-values for 1. foam like XPS becomes a vapour barrier, so the house needs to be able to dry to the interior (meaning using an interior vapour retarder that has a permanence much greater than the foam).

I don't know the US code, but 1" seems really small for a cold climate. That's about R-5. I haven't looked at the charts for minimum foam, but I think I recall seeing minimum R7.5 for US zone 6, which would be 1-1/2" xps. If it were me I'd err more on 2".

Most houses have a polyethylene vapour barrier on inside which is a pretty big no no when doing doing out board insulation because the permeability of the foam is quite low when at the proper depths to keep the sheathing warm enough to not cause condensation problems.

It also seems like there wasn't very good attention to air sealing. Simply taping the seams of the foam does not make it an air barrier.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:24 AM   #33
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Re: Styrofoam Insulation Sheets


I don't disagree that 1.5" foam would be preferred but it also provides a whole different set of challenges with jam bucks for windows, installing siding etc. We install our windows over foam, I have read installation instructions for all major window suppliers and none have specific instructions for when ridgid foam is used. Our theory on foam here is more for the continual thermal break to reduce thermal bridging. We do not install a vapor barrier inside and use unfaced fiberglass insulation. We also spray foam any gaps in ridgid foam greater than 1/2" then tape. That being said not many people use ridgid foam around here which astonishes me because that house went from using 1000 gallons of oil and 3 cord of wood a year to 600 gallons and 2 cord with new windows and ridgid foam.


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